Life is a song - sing it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a dream - realize it. Life is a sacrifice - offer it. Life is love - enjoy it. – Sai Baba
If this festival is not on your bucket list, it should certainly be added along with experiencing several days in Thailand’s northern city of Chang Mai. Loi Krathong, which can be translated as “floating decoration,” also coincides with the more popular Lanna festival of Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง), and is held on the second full moon of the Lanna calendar, thus the translation, "Yi" meaning "2nd" and "Peng" meaning "month" in the Lanna language). During this time a multitude of Lanna-style paper lanterns khom loi (โคมลอย), literally: "floating lanterns"), are released into the night’s sky in unison, or at least that is the point, and just by having a camera amateurs can suddenly appear to be professionals with just a few clicks capturing this incredible moment. Since I was arriving very close to the date of this festival from Korea, thankfully my friends Toby and Jade who have been living in Chang Mai for quite a few years had some very pertinent advice that I want to share with those willing to make the journey for next year’s 2014 Loi Krathong festival scheduled for the 7th of November.
After speaking with one of the women at our guesthouse, our group has decided that we should try and leave around 3:30pm, since it will take us an estimated 30-minutes to drive the 17km outside of the city to Mae Jo University. Trying to wrangle a group of seven people is just about as difficult as wrangling midgets (and trust me, I know a thing or two about this), I have my troops in order and before we know it we have picked up three more people to fill out the back of the red pickup trucks that service as taxis around Chiang Mai. As expected there is plenty of traffic that keeps us at a standstill in the heat, but this doesn’t seem to be as awful as I was expecting with brief bouts of a breeze when we were accelerating and plenty of stories and laughter with our group as the anticipation and excitement built up for tonight’s event. Ashley, my American partner in crime, has actually stuck around Thailand for an extra month, just for tonight, before heading on her next adventure of conquering Australia.